[Theforum] ASAP [Fwd: RFP: css-discuss hosting]

Lachlan Cannon luminosity at members.evolt.org
Thu Nov 7 19:16:43 CST 2002

When css-discuss started having problems with the list and Eric Meyer
asked about other places where css-discuss could be hosted, I e-mailed
him and said that I'd see if evolt.org was interested in hosting
css-discuss. He just replied with this message to everyone who'd said
they might be able to host it. What do we think?

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RFP: css-discuss hosting
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2002 11:27:15 -0500
From: Eric A. Meyer <eric at meyerweb.com>
To: css-discuss-admin at westciv.com


      I'm sending this note to the people who indicated they might be
able to help find a new home for css-discuss.  That time has come, as
a recent attempt to fix the replication problem completely screwed up
the list's subscriber information, not to mention locked out the
administrative account.  I've had it with pairlist.
      I wanted to put in front of everyone the current state of
css-discuss-- well, the non-broken state, anyway-- to make sure that
anyone making an offer to host the list will know what they're
      At the moment, we have just over 2500 subscribed accounts, with a
mixture of digest and regular-delivery accounts.  Several accounts
are set not to receive mail, but I don't know how many.  I would
anticipate that at least 2200 members do get mail, digest or
otherwise.  Unfortunately I don't know how many subscribers receive
the digest, either.  (I'll explain in a moment.)  The list receives
an average of 50 posts per day; its lifetime average as of the end of
September was 50.88, with the monthly averages for July through
September being 51.13, 59.29, and 45.20, respectively.  On busy days
the list can get over 100 messages, and on slow days it usually
hovers around 25 or so.  The average message size seems to be about
5KB, thanks to a few KB of headers, and at present the maximum
allowed posting size is 15KB; it used to be 25KB.  I don't allow
attachments or anything besides plain-text messages, and would expect
that to stay the same.
      So that should give you some idea of the bandwidth and server
loads the list would consume.  I wish I could give some exact figures
but I can't, as pairlist doesn't provide those numbers.  It probably
depends on the list software used.
      As for administration, I don't know anything about running a mail
server, let alone configuring one.  The list is currently based on
Mailman 2.0.6, and I'm familiar with using the Web-based interface to
manage the list.  I would greatly prefer a list which allowed me to
administrate it via a Web-based interface, as that lets me clear out
the spam filters when on the road, for example.  Whether or not it's
Mailman is probably unimportant.  I'm also willing to do some
administration from a shell, and would actually be happy to get a
little more control over the list's basic functions that way, but the
Web-based interface is still important to me.
      At the moment, I can't set up Mailman to automatically discard
messages from non-subscribers; I have to manually discard them.
(Well, I wrote some Javascript widgets to automate the discard
process, but still.)  Being able to define filters that dropped
non-subscriber messages on the floor would be wonderful.  Being able
to do it in such a way that the list would still retain messages that
were in response to posts on the list, but didn't come from a
recognized address, would be even better.
      Among the other things that would be good to have:

      * minimal header size
      * problem-free subscription and unsubscription
      * email-based functions for (un)subscribing, getting help, etc.
      * Web-based interface for subscribers to manage their account
settings, as with Mailman
      * the ability for me to set up sophisticated filters for better
spam management and policy enforcement
      * the ability to set up and host 'css-discuss.com' and run the
list through 'list at css-discuss.com', or some similar address
      * room and resources to store the public archive and list wiki, if
they ever move from incutio.com

I'm willing to learn as much as I can about list administration at
the shell level, as well as through a Web interface, but will
inevitably need help from time to time with things I don't
understand.  I'll also need to rely on the server administrator to
handle things in a relatively speedy manner when I can't fix whatever
problem arises.  My hope is that after the initial setup and learning
phase on my part, the amount of intervention the server administrator
has to make will be very minimal.
      I'd like to keep costs as low as humanly possible, but I'm not
going to rule out any proposals that aren't free.  The list has shown
its utility to enough people that I'm willing to pay to keep it
going.  If the amount is low enough, I can justify paying it out of
pocket, and if not I can consider asking list members to make
donations to keep things going.  I guess what I'm saying is, think
over what hosting the list would involve, make a reasonable proposal,
and I'll consider them all.
      Thanks to the recent bungling by pairlist, I'm looking to make
this migration as soon as possible.  If you have any further
questions, don't hesitate to ask them.  Thank you for your time and
attention to this, and I hope that a solution can be found very soon.

Eric A. Meyer  (eric at meyerweb.com)  http://www.meyerweb.com/eric/
Author, "Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide,"
    "Eric Meyer on CSS," "CSS 2.0 Programmer's Reference," and more

Web: http://illuminosity.net/
E-mail: lach @ illuminosity.net
MSN: luminosity @ members.evolt.org

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